It’s easy to dread the inevitable draining bank account that comes with Valentine’s Day. If the holiday’s portrayal in movies is any indication, you’re expected to spend on flowers, chocolates and anything else that reduces your affection to tired clichés. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few unique gift ideas that won’t trap you inside a bad romantic comedy.
Get your boyfriend something that shows him how well you know him. Go with a gift card to his favorite restaurant or a handmade gift card with a personal offering. If your man loves to blare his favorite Fleet Foxes tunes, but you’re more of a Marina and the Diamonds girl, write him a coupon that can be redeemed for “Two Hours of Playing Your Music Without Me Complaining About It.” He’ll love the thought, and a little self-deprecating humor never hurt anyone.
You can bet girls will be expecting something special for Valentine’s Day. Be thoughtful: is she lactose intolerant? Milk chocolates are out of the question. Does she hate surprises? Then don’t rip the shower curtain aside while she’s in there and scream that you’re taking her to Disneyland. Instead, order takeout from her favorite restaurant, queue up a beloved movie on Netflix and stare into her eyes as you give her a foot massage.
Deciding on the best Valentine’s Day gift for parents, who are likely spending thousands of dollars to allow you to live in Manhattan, can be a stressful task. Mail them a heartfelt letter in which you promise to cut down on personal expenditures this semester. Expect instant child-of-the-year status.
Your roommate deals with your sleeping habits, your eating habits, your studying habits, etc. The best valentine for them? Treat him or her to quality maid service: wait until your roommate leaves for class, then clean your room, make your bed, make their bed and polish everything until it shines. Your roommate can feel as though he or she is relaxing back home. A roommate will actually miss you and want to do something nice for you when you return the next day.
You know your best friend more intimately than anybody else — likes, dislikes and what makes them tick. If your friend is as awesome as you are, he or she will also probably appreciate a healthy dose of irony. For your close friend, prepare the cinematic Valentine’s Day: chocolate, flowers, pricey dinner — the whole nine yards. He or she will giggle, scoff and then realize that you’re the greatest thing to happen to them since they bought their first iPhone.
Happy Valentine’s Day, NYU.
Helen Holmes is the deputy features editor. Layla Ilchi is a staff writer. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.